When Orange is the New Black‘s Uzo Aduba was nominated for her first Emmy award in 2014, she brought her mom along to the show. “There was no one else that I could have even thought of, dreamed of, wanted to have beside me,” she tells EW. That night, she won the Emmy for best guest actress in a comedy.
“My mom has done everything that someone hopes that someone might do when it comes to supporting your child,” Aduba added. “Times when I did not believe, she believed enough for the both of us. She is my number one fan. My greatest advisor. My greatest supporter.”
Aduba’s mother moved to the U.S. from Nigeria, where she “battled polio” and “witnessed war firsthand,” according to an essay Aduda penned for The Daily Beast in August. “When my parents moved here from Nigeria, their American dream was for their children to be able to live their dream,” Aduba told EW. “She believed in me and supported me going into this field. She knew it was going to be hard, but she just kept telling me all the time, ‘Zo Zo, you can do it. I believe in you. You just have to keep going.'”
Now, Aduba has a starring role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on Netflix’s acclaimed dramedy—and both an Emmy and a SAG Award under her belt. Turns out her mom was right: She just had to keep going. “I love that lady,” Aduba said. “I cannot say enough about how much I love that woman.”
Orange is the New Black‘s third season arrives on Netflix June 12 and the second season is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD May 19.